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NAIA Lacrosse Sees Great Strides In 4th Season

The regular season is in the books for NAIA lacrosse, and as to be expected the league made great strides in its fourth season as a sanctioned sport. By all accounts this was the most competitive season from top to bottom so far. Big time upsets blew up the national polls multiple times, and several younger programs emerged as nationally relevant squads this spring.

That said, the more things change the more they stay the same. Reinhardt (Ga.) continued its dominant ways, as its only blemish was a loss to Cumberlands in the first game of the season, and is very well positioned to win its third straight NAIA lacrosse national championship. Here is a run down of some of the conference storylines around the league…

Read more: Read our first-round preview of the NAIA Lacrosse tournament here.

naia lacrosse
Courtesy: NAIA

Appalachian Athletic Conference

Cumberlands (12-4) started red hot, but struggled down the stretch with injuries and inconsistent play. It seems unfair to criticize a program that won the regular season conference title and went 12-4 in only its fourth season.

Reinhardt (13-1) bounced back from it’s early season loss to Cumberlands with a vengeance. During their current 12 game win streak they’ve won by an average of 16 goals. This includes five wins over ranked opponents, four wins over tournament bound teams, and a win over an NCAA DII program. Theirs is still a chasm between the upper and lower half of the conference, but the lower half did make some solid strides this season.

AAC All-Conference

A – Gavin Banks – SO – Reinhardt

A – Bennett Jarrett – SR – Reinhardt

A – Roderick Williams – SR – Tennesse Wesleyan

M – Zane Anderson – JR – Reinhardt

M – Ian Gonzalez – SR – Tennesse Wesleyan

M – Conner Mills – SR – Reinhardt

FOS – Kody Swann – SR – Cumberlands

LSM – Connor Bean – SO – Reinhardt

D – Nick DiFranco – SR – Cumberlands

D – Bryan Morgan – SR – Cumberlands

D – Jacob Samuels – SR – Reinhardt

D – Zach Pinson – JR – Reinhardt

G – Matt Webb – SO – Reinhardt

Photo courtesy NAIA

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

The KCAC was as wide open as advertised with the regular season ending in a three way tie between Benedictine (10-4), Missouri Valley (11-3), and Ottawa (7-6). Benedictine obliterated Missouri Valley, 21-9, in the conference championship game sending them to their first national tournament. The Ravens emergence was sparked by a balanced attack and an aggressive defense. Ottawa was the biggest surprise in the conference, and Aidan Baker was nothing short of sensational en route to offensive player of the year honors.

KCAC All Conference

A – Jack Smith – SR – Missouri Valley

A – Pearson Willis – SR – Ottawa

A – Tyler French – SO – Saint Mary

M – Aidan Baker – SR – Ottawa

M – Ryan Barnes – SR – Missouri Valley

M – Tyler Wilkinson – JR – Missouri Valley

FOS – Tyler Wollenburg – SR – Missouri Valley

SSM – Ryan Alley – SR – Ottawa

LSM – Tyler Santini – JR – Benedictine

D – Ethan Novacek – SR – Benedictine

D – AJ Nardi – JR – Saint Mary

D – Christian Abeles – SR – Ottawa

G – Carson Davis – SR – Ottawa

naia lacrosse
Courtesy: NAIA

Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference

Once again the WHAC was the deepest conference in the NAIA, evidenced by four teams heading to the national tournament. While the conference is extremely deep, it is yet to be seen if any are capable of challenging for the national championship.

Indiana Tech (15-2) is one of the hottest teams in the country, but even they struggled against Reinhardt, 15-7, earlier this season. They will rely heavily on defensive standouts Evan Schuster (GK), and Jordan Reyes (D) if they are going to make a run at the championship.

WHAC All-Conference

A – Sam Klinsky – SR – Aquinas

A – Chandler Peterson – SR – Indiana Tech

A – Cam Rogers – SR – Aquinas

M – Jake Gallaher – FR – Siena Heights

M – Harry Dyson – JR – Madonna

M – Ian Rush – SO – Madonna

FOS – Samuel Werner – JR – Aquinas

SSM – Dan Diederich – SR – Aquinas

LSM – Nathan Sahly – JR – Taylor

D – Matt Wagner – SO – Aquinas

D – Collin O’loughlin – SR – Lourdes

D – Jordan Reyes – JR – Indiana Tech

G – Evan Schuster – SO – Indiana Tech

Independent Conference

SCAD (7-4) and Keiser (8-6) split their regular season matchups before Keiser won, 11-10, a thriller over SCAD in the first Independent Conference Tournament Championship. Hunter East led the Keiser offense en route to offensive player of the year honors.

Independent All-Conference

A – Liam Thomas – FR – SCAD

A – Tyler Kalmowitz – SO – Keiser

A – Andy Coulter – SR – Missouri Baptist

M – Hunter East – SO – Keiser

M – Wolf Zachar – SO – SCAD

M – Sean Parmer – SO – SCAD

SSM – James Redpath – SR – Keiser

FOS – Noah Campbell – SO – Missouri Baptist

LSM – Justin Stone – SR – Keiser

D – Fisher Nuss – SO – Missouri Baptist

D – Channing Thomas – SR – Keiser

D – Jackson Bryan – SO – SCAD

G – Marco Olortegui – SO – Keiser

Sights and Sounds from Around NAIA Lacrosse

Lawerence Tech

Indiana Tech